Month: November 2012

Working in Collaboration

Date Issued:

I am at the 50th Annual meeting of the collaborating centres of the International Labour Organization (ILO).  CCOHS is one of those collaborating centres, with 60 member countries represented here.

Stevan Horvath

Steve Horvath, far right, presenting at the meeting.

I led off the meeting with a summary of initiatives and discussions in the last year.

There has been a fundamental recognition of the impact of changing technology and environment on the structure and strategy of the collaborating network within the ILO.   I presented to the ILO the feedback from the ILO collaborating centres’ input to date on the re-focus of the ILO strategy on occupational health and safety systems, programs and products.

I am committed to the framework of a network of collaborating centres – but it must be adaptive and responsive to present realities.  We have to shift our focus regularly and ask whether we are being effective as an organization in our initiatives and able to demonstrate progress.  In this context, CCOHS is committed to working within the network towards a needs-based approach and to support the mobilization of available expertise and products.

The second day of meetings of the ILO network began with my being voted to chair their “Knowledge and Information Sharing Tools” group.

These are always lively discussions that highlight the opportunity to share established solutions and resources.  This dialogue underscores the stark differences between the developing and developed countries, but, for me, the even greater issue is the significant commonality in challenges between all countries.  Everyone is struggling with diminishing resources, increasing needs, accessing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and training of vulnerable or migrant workers – to name a few.

There is a compelling need created by the new environment for collaboration and the exchange of expertise to ensure we meet our common goals.  These networks have to be built on a platform of reciprocal relationships, where resources are exchanged freely to the benefit of all.

I am looking forward to working collaboratively within these networks to meet the challenges that lay ahead.

Learning About Learning

Date Issued:

There were 26 countries represented at the Mainstreaming OSH into Schools: Towards a Culture of Prevention meeting in Turin at the ILO training centre in Turin last week, and as I review the event, it has become apparent that Canada’s resources and expertise were very much in demand from other regions in the world.  Some were developing countries looking for assistance in launching initiatives to address the needs for teaching OSH to students prior to entering the workforce.  A number also had issues with child labour, an active informal economy, and increasing numbers of youth in precarious work that makes training and enforcement challenging.

CCOHS has resources to offer, in addition to support.  Our programs, web sites, and databases are readily accessible.  But, as I listened, there was also a real need for leadership and guidance by institutions and countries that have established regulations, standards, procedures and resource materials.  We at CCOHS have a lot to contribute to the promotion of integrating OSH into the education curriculum.

I spoke of collaborating with educators at the early stages of curriculum development and the need to understand their processes in order to achieve a seamless integration into the lesson plans of teachers, instead of a distinct program requiring their time commitments outside their measured educational goals.

We have success stories here in Canada; in particular, and one of the ones presented here by Sue Boychuk, was the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Live Safe! Work Smart! program.  The results in terms of injury rate reductions over 10 years amongst teens (a 67% decrease) have been dramatic.

I also supported the concept of a mentorship program between developed and developing countries.  Our resources and learning materials can benefit and pave the way, in a much more direct way.